via Russia Today / Homeless men employed cleaning up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan’s yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.”
RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky, reporting from the site of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, met with a former Fukushima worker who was engaged in the clean-up operation.
“We were given no insurance for health risks, no radiation meters even. We were treated like nothing, like disposable people – they promised things and then kicked us out when we received a large radiation doze,” the young man, who didn’t identify himself, told RT.
The former Fukushima worker explained that when a job offer at Fukushima came up he was unemployed, and didn’t hesitate to take it. He is now planning to sue the firm that hired him.
“They promised a lot of money, even signed a long-term contract, but then suddenly terminated it, not even paying me a third of the promised sum,” he said.
While some workers voluntarily agreed to take jobs on the nuclear clean-up project, many others simply didn’t have a choice.
An investigative journalist who went undercover at Fukushima, filming with a camera hidden in his watch, says that many of the workers were brought into the nuclear plant by Japan’s organized crime syndicates, the yakuza.
“In Japan, quite often when a certain construction project requires an immediate workforce, in large numbers, bosses make a phone call to the Yakuza. This was the case with Fukushima: the government called Tepco to take urgent action, Tepco relayed it to their subcontractors and they, eventually, as they had a shortage of available workers, called the Yakuza for help,” Tomohiko Suzuki told RT.
According to Japanese police, up to 50 yakuza gangs with 1,050 members currently operate in Fukushima prefecture. Although a special task force to keep organized crime out of the nuclear clean-up project has been set up, investigators say they need first-hand reports from those forced to work by the yakuza to crack down on the syndicates.
Earlier this year, Japanese police made their first arrest, detaining one yakuza over claims he sent workers to the crippled Fukushima plant without a license. Yoshinori Arai regularly took a cut of the workers’ wages, pocketing $60,000 in over two years.